Dr. Stefan Cassone, Head of the Duisburg-Hamborn Correctional Facility, during his talk on the training of prison staff.
Dr. Stefan Cassone, Head of the Duisburg-Hamborn Correctional Facility, during his talk on the training of prison staff.

IRZ, in cooperation with the Algerian prison authority, organised a conference on the "Implementation of international standards in the Algerian penitentiary system" in Algiers on 23-24 May, 2023. Approx. 30 Algerian officials participated from the penitentiary system and at a ministerial level.

Exchange of experiences between Algeria and Germany

The two-day event formed the sustainability phase of a tandem project funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Justice. Algerian and German experts worked in groups in the project to develop a manual with recommendations for the Algerian penitentiary system. The experts met at the end of the project to report on their experiences in the practical implementation and to encourage the use of the manuals.

On the German side, Mr. Kai Abraham, Head of the Women’s Correctional Facility in Berlin and Dr. Stefan Cassone, Head of the Duisburg-Hamborn Correctional Facility participated the project, who had already been involved in the previous tandem project and made a significant contribution to its success.

To kick the event off, the Head of the Algerian Penitentiary Authority, Mr. Essaïd Zreb, addressed all the attendees and emphasised the value of cooperation and exchange between Germany and Algeria. The Algerian and German sides then gave an introduction to the legal framework and current legal practice in the prison sector.

Four main topics were discussed as detailed below:

  1. the treatment of detainees during the admission procedure in accordance with human rights
  2. the creation of an individual prison plan and classification of inmates
  3. previous experiences in cooperation with external actors and
  4. current developments in the training and further education of prison staff.

After the keynote speeches and field reports the participants exchanged ideas with the German experts. Many experiences were similar, particularly with respect to cooperation with external actors and the further training of prison staff. The involvement of external actors (e.g. religious and cultural bodies and educational institutions) played a crucial and irreplaceable role in terms of the reintegration of prisoners into society, and the participants emphasised the importance of reintegration into the labour market. Both sides highlighted the benefits of training prison staff in soft skills, e.g. communication skills and conflict management, using roleplay and simulations. Different approaches in Germany and Algeria – for example in the area of the classification of detainees – were discussed and assessed in depth.

Many local media also reported on the event and the outcome of the conference was publicised beyond the group of participants.

All the attendees expressed an interest in further intensive and practice-oriented work.